Autobiography is the theme of this year’s Chancellor’s lectures at Chichester Cathedral, delivered by Canon Dr Anthony Cane.
Narratives of Transformation – Learning from Autobiographies about Life, Love and God will be on four Thursday evenings in May and June: 6.30pm in the Cathedral Nave, May 17 and 24 and June 7 and 14. All welcome. No ticket required.
Anthony said: “What I find so powerful about autobiographies is that they bring us into the living presence of someone we do not know. Even if the author lived in another historical period or on the other side of the world, they can still address us personally through what they have written about their lives. It is one thing to be impressed by the new statue of suffragist Millicient Fawcett in Parliament Square, and another to read her memoir What I Remember. It is the book that gives a real flavour of what she was like. And what a story of social change she has to tell!
“My favourite definition of an autobiography is: one person telling another, ‘something happened to me.’ For the story to be told, to be written down, something worth telling must have happened.
“Usually, there has been change; there is a ‘before’ and an ‘after’. This change, or transformation, may be of very different kinds –political, religious, philosophical, or scientific; or that the person has overcome trauma or achieved huge success from humble beginnings.
“In my Chancellor’s lectures for 2018, I am going to focus on these narratives of transformation, convinced that reading them can itself be transformative. So whether we are reading Augustine of Hippo, whose Confessions (written in the late fourth century) invented the genre of autobiography, or Suffragette: My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst, the experience will have an impact and is unlikely to leave us unchanged.
“As this year sees the centenary of ‘Votes for Women’, and the end of the First World War, I will be looking at autobiographical writing on both these themes, as well as exploring some spiritual classics.”
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2